We uncovered thousands of Muni stories by exploring every nook and cranny—ew, not literally—of the commuter experience. Our next step is doing the same about the entire city. Those of you who’ve been following our podcast know this as our sister project, San Francisco Diaries, and it exists because we know that even after nearly 12 years of collecting stories, we’re just scratching the surface (also ew, not literally) of San Francisco living.
We’re returning to Betabrand Podcast Theater on Thursday, Oct. 3, for an evening dedicated to “hidden San Francisco” with two special guests who have walked 49 miles of our city.
Kristine Poggioli and coauthor Carolyn Eidson became the first people known to have walked San Francisco’s historic 49 Mile Scenic Drive—not in one day (like these crazy cats at the Chronicle!), over one year. They did it by dividing the route into 17 bite-sized walks. At our live podcast event, we’ll chat with them about what they’ve found on their walk, and invite you to share some of your hidden gems too. Tickets are only $5, so grab one today.
Our fall show is back! We’re bringing Muni Diaries Live back to the Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley. You’ll hear true and hilarious only-in-SF stories and experience the Muni Haiku Battle—where champion MC Allen steps back into the spotlight to defend his (inflatable) crown. Join us in celebrating all the hilarity, delight, and weirdness that happens on public transit in San Francisco.
Our stellar lineup:
Annette Mullaney is a standup comic based in San Francisco. She was named a “comic to catch” by the San Francisco Chronicle and has performed at the Portland Comedy Festival, Detroit Women of Comedy Festival, and the Out of Bounds Festival. Her comedy is self-deprecating, feminist, existentialist, smart, vulgar, and full of big words to prove she’s been to grad school.
George McCalmanis an artist and creative director based in San Francisco. Trained as a philosophy-focused fine artist at St John’s University, the Caribbean-born designer had a 14-year editorial magazine career before opening the doors of his creative branding studio, McCalman.Co, in 2011. In 2016, he resuscitated a dormant fine-art calling and began obsessively illustrating, dreaming ,and painting everything he saw. The monthly “Observed” column, which he writes, designs and illustrates, debuted the same year. Additionally, George teaches graphic design and illustration at California College of the Arts.
Jefferson Bergey is professional musician in Oakland. He is a regular performer in San Francisco’s Bawdy Storytelling for which he writes custom songs for creator and host—and beloved Muni Diaries Live alum—Dixie De La Tour. He’s performed at Punchline SF for SF Sketchfest and even some unlikely venues, such as the JCC of San Francisco. His music is regularly featured on the award-winning Bawdy Storytelling Podcast and has appeared on Kevin Allison’s wildly popular RISK! podcast.
Maureen Bogues is a writer, editor, speaker, dog nerd and Beethoven obsessive. She loves helping people find their creative voice, and writing plays. Her stories have been featured in Beyond Border Storytelling.
MC Allen, alongside his two children, has ridden every Muni route end to end in a single summer. His next Muni endeavor is writing a poem for every route. As our reigning haiku champion he is well on his way. You can find these every week in the Bay City Beacon.
Molly Martin is a longtime activist and Bernal Heights resident. She was an organizer of Occupy Bernal, which saved many homes in the neighborhood from foreclosure. Molly is also an activist for women in the trades, and is working on a book about the history of women construction workers in the Bay Area.
Wonder Dave is a writer, comedian and performer from Minneapolis, MN, now living in California. He has toured the country performing at poetry venues, schools, cabarets, science fiction conventions, burlesque shows, bowling alleys and independent wrestling shows. He has been a featured storyteller on the Risk podcast. Dave’s poetry has been published in anthologies by Write Bloody , Lethe Press, and Sibling Rivalry Press.
Sometimes the only thing you can really do about Muni is laugh about it. This Thursday, Sept. 12, The Exploratorium is exploring the “science of humor,” and we are bringing a mini version of Muni Diaries to the big museum. This show—the Muni Diaries Express, if you will—features Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, Wonder Dave, and Muni haikus by Jesús U. BettaWork.
Come join the fun and vote for the next contender in the Muni Haiku Battle!
The museum admission on Thursday night (adults only, by the way!) gives you access to everything in The Exploratorium so you can let your nerd flag fly all evening. Just make sure you come and see us at 7 p.m. at the Kanbar Forum in the museum. Follow the signs and listen up for the announcement.
Muni Diaries Express at Exploratorium After Dark: Humor Me 7p Thursday, Sept. 12
Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum at the Exploratorium Pier 15 Embarcadero at Green Street
As he carted his belongings to the bus stop, Kurt Schwartzmann knew that he relied on the kindness of the Muni driver, lest he face another cold night on the streets of San Francisco. When the bus door opened on one particular night, he was relieved to see the familiar face.
This was a lifetime ago, before Schwartzmann conquered his struggle with drug addiction, found his way as an artist, and met his now-husband. While he was homeless, Muni had become the refuge for Schwartzmann.
We first met Schwartzmann on Instagram when he posted about his art series, and we were thrilled that he told his story at Muni Diaries Live in April at Rickshaw Stop.
Growing up in Fresno as a young gay man, Schwartzmann said that San Francisco had always been a symbol for “freedom of expression and refuge from intolerance.” In honor of Pride weekend, we are sharing his story in today’s podcast episode. Take a listen:
Muni is probably our longest love-hate relationship, a widespread phenomenon that became the focus of one bus rider’s one-woman play. That woman, Ady Lady, is a writer and performer. She’s written and performed two solo shows: Sara Jane Tried to Shoot the President and From Piss to Bliss, the latter of which was about her desperate attempt to lead with love while riding Muni.
Update: She’s still working on it.
Ady Lady told her story at Muni Diaries Live at Rickshaw Stop earlier this spring. For everyone who missed it (or can’t wait for the encore), here’s her story:
We’ve known for 11 years (more if you count our pre-Muni Diaries days) that damn near anything can happen on public transit. Today’s story, told by Sureni Weerasekera, contrasts the magic of good juju on BART with a distinctly Bay Area brand of racism and othering.
Sureni was born in Sri Lanka, raised in San Diego, and is currently based in SF doing stand-up comedy, writing, and acting. She’s a contributing writer and actor for “Life of Trying” and runs two of Berkeley’s top comedy shows, “Pizza Party” and “Subhumans.” Follow her on Instagram @sureni, and check out her upcoming shows at: https://surenicomedy.com/.